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Oshkosh Truck Awarded Roster Spot at DARPA Grand Challenge’s National Qualifying Event
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Jun 06, 2007
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Oshkosh Truck Corporation [NYSE: OSK], along with partners Rockwell Collins [NYSE: COL] and the University of Parma, Italy, announced today that its TerraMax™ robotic vehicle is among a select group invited to participate in the 2005 National Qualifying Event (NQE) for the DARPA Grand Challenge, a 175-mile, off-road race in the Mojave desert for completely autonomous vehicles. Of 119 teams, only 40 are invited to the NQE in Fontana, Calif., beginning on Sept. 27.

Representatives from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), part of the Department of Defense and sponsor of the DARPA Grand Challenge, evaluated each of the 119 teams seeking to make it to the 40-team qualification stage of the race. Team TerraMax completed three mandatory 200-meter obstacle courses and an optional “freestyle” course to move on to the NQE.

“Oshkosh Truck is fully committed to autonomous vehicle development because of the phenomenal benefits it may someday bring to our customers. DARPA’s confidence in our ability to field a competitive entry is a great springboard toward the refinements we plan to make over the next few months,” said Don Verhoff, executive vice president of engineering and technology for Oshkosh Truck. “Along with our partners at Rockwell Collins and the University of Parma, we believe we have a great competitive vehicle.”

Over the next several months, most of the refinement will be directed at the path planning, navigation and obstacle avoidance systems carried out by various teams at Rockwell Collins, the University of Parma and Rockwell Scientific.

“Our primary focus to date has gone into navigational accuracy,” said John Dunn, senior director of advanced programs for Rockwell Collins Government Systems. “With our invitation to the NQE, we will now begin spiraling in some of our race-grade technologies such as high-level vision and path planning – all in the effort to increase speed while maintaining our robust obstacle avoidance and navigational precision.”

TerraMax is expected to accurately drive itself, without human intervention, through the desert averaging nearly 20 mph to finish the race in less than 10 hours. The system is designed to perform an automatic driving function using six computers along with seven laser range-finders, five digital video cameras, three GPS receivers, and two inertial navigation sensors. The TerraMax system has proven its ability to automatically drive the vehicle as well as detect and avoid obstacles along the route.

In 2004, TerraMax was one of only seven entries to complete the 1.3-mile qualifying course for the Grand Challenge. The platform for TerraMax is Oshkosh’s combat-proven Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR), which was originally built for the U.S. Marine Corps and has been used extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the 2005 Grand Challenge, TerraMax has been modified to include rear-wheel steering for improved maneuverability.
To learn more about the TerraMax truck and its related technologies, visit Oshkosh’s robotic vehicle Web site at http://www.terramax.com.

About Rockwell Collins Inc.
Rockwell Collins is a leader in the design, production and support of communications and aviation electronics solutions for government and commercial customers worldwide. Additional company information is available at http://www.rockwellcollins.com.

About Oshkosh Truck Corporation
Oshkosh Truck Corporation [NYSE: OSK] is a leading manufacturer of specialty trucks and truck bodies for the defense, fire and emergency, concrete placement and refuse hauling markets. Oshkosh Truck is a Fortune 1000 company with products marketed under the Oshkosh®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec™, Geesink®, Norba®, Jerr-Dan®, BAI, CON-E-CO® and London® brand names. The company is headquartered in Oshkosh, Wis., and had annual sales of $2.26 billion in fiscal 2004.

To learn more about Oshkosh Truck Corporation, visit its Web site at http://www.oshkoshtruckcorporation.com


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